Friday, 23 October 2015

Worshipping The Wicked + The Divine #15

Or a look at the use of dialogue fade in WicDiv #15
by Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, and Clayton Cowles; Image Comics

The thing about WicDiv I love is that it's always showing me something cool. It can be some dramatic trick of layout or colour that does something truly remarkable or unprecedented. It can be a shocking story twist or a slow burning irony that drags like an icebreaker through the series. It can be clever character design or some bit of fun mythology. Or maybe it's a cool artist you've never met before. Or maybe it's just something little and smart and worth taking a closer look at. 

WicDiv #15 manages to show me a couple cool things.

There will be *SPOILERS* for WicDiv #15 below.

One of the cool things about WicDiv #15 is of course the artwork of Stephanie Hans. Her painted style is perfect for the story since it brings a glow and attention to light that is distinct from the rest of the series. This is absolutely perfect for the issue which focuses on Amaterasu, the sun goddess of the WicDiv pantheon and Kami of Shinto mythology: it's as if the entire issue was bathed in sunlight. I am very pleased to be acquainted with the artwork of Stephanie Hans.

The other cool thing about WicDiv #15 is a small details kind of thing that I think is kind of neat. The issue ends with Amaterasu attending a Shinto shrine in Tokyo to hang Ema prayer cards for her dead and dying friends. She says prayer after prayer since she has many friends in dire need of help and because she is apparently, at her core, a good person in a shitty situation. (Despite her dubious cultural appropriation: sometimes good people do problematic things?) What I love about this sequence in a wonky comics kind of way is that the dialogue boxes go from normal and solid and fade in sequence until the last one is barely readable. This is cool because it's like the visual storytelling equivalent of a sound fade out where the sounds of Amaterasu's prayers slowly fade out as we leave the story. It's great because it's visually encoding a a sound-based storytelling tool and because it stretches this scene temporally: we can easily picture Amaterasu saying many, many more prayers after the sound fades out. It's a tiny choice in the grand scheme of things, but I think it's adroit stuff. 

The Wicked + The Divine, always good for a few cool things.

WicDiv #1 and popart head-splosions
WicDiv #2 and the use of black-space
WicDiv #3 and character design

WicDiv #4 and body language 

WicDiv#5 and facial acting

WicDiv #6 and possessions as character
WicDiv #7 and the power of lettering
WicDiv #8 and the disorienting layout
WicDiv #9 and the economics of design
WicDiv #10 and powers as character design
WicDiv #11 and stretching the moment
WicDiv #12 and layout encoding
WicDiv #13 and retroactive narratives
WicDiv #14 and re-mixing comics

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